Types of filters in air conditioners: features and efficiency
Author Anastasia Belousova

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  • Basic mechanical filter
  • Additional stages of air purification
  • HEPA filter
  • Absorbent filter (charcoal)
  • Catechin filter
  • Photocatalytic filter
  • Antioxidant filter
  • Silver ion filter
  • Plasma ionizer
  • Do you need additional air purification

The main function of an air conditioner is to cool the air. Its purification from any impurities is an additional option. However, climate technology manufacturers strive to offer the user the most advanced and functional systems possible, and therefore they constantly upgrade filter elements, promising effective elimination of odors, allergens, disinfection and ionization. Is there any real benefit from this in the end, and what is the difference between different types of cleaning, you will learn from this article.

Basic mechanical filter

This is in every split system. A mechanical filter is needed to protect climate control equipment and its working units from clogging with dust, fluff and pet hair. This element is a special fine mesh insert, which, if desired, can be removed for preventive cleaning, and then put back in place without harm to the system.

The mechanical filter is distinguished by its durability. It is reusable. The disadvantage of this filter is its need for a certain care. It’s about regular cleaning. It is necessary to get rid of accumulated dirt and dust at least once a year. 2-3 months. The exact frequency of cleaning depends on the intensity of use of the air conditioner.

A mechanical coarse filter cannot decontaminate or get rid of odors and allergens, but it is capable of retaining up to 95% of large particles that enter the air. Without it, the air conditioner will work much worse and may even break, and therefore not a single model of climate technology can do without a basic filtration system.

Additional stages of air purification

Modern split systems can be equipped with different air-cleaning elements. They will help the main coarse filter in the fight against pollution, as well as provide more comfortable conditions inside the serviced premises. The options available today differ not only in their degree of effectiveness, but also in the nature of the impact, and therefore, before you go to the store for a new air conditioner, it will not be out of place to find out what these or those names mean from the descriptions of climate technology.

HEPA filter

It is sometimes also called a fine filter. The system is able to rid the air of particles up to 2 microns in size. Its effectiveness will depend on the class of cleaning. So, HEPA filters can trap from 95 to 99.995% of small particles. Most often they are installed in ceiling split systems designed to work in conditions of high air pollution.

HEPA filters are made from a special fibrous material that folds into a tight accordion inside a plastic or metal frame. Such systems cannot be cleaned, as they are disposable. Depending on the usage of the air conditioner and the degree of pollution of the surrounding air, the filter can last up to 1-2 years. After this period, it will have to be replaced.

If you want to buy an air conditioner with a HEPA filter, pay attention to the offers of such well-known brands as Ballu and Dantex

Absorbent filter (charcoal)

It is a plate with honeycombs, which contain activated carbon. It eliminates various odors well. Often, models with a carbon filter are chosen by pet owners, but if you are faced with the task of cleaning the air from harsh odors, such as tobacco, then this system will not work. Absorbent elements are only able to cope with odors of medium intensity.

As in the case of HEPA filters, carbon analogues cannot be reused, and their service life is relatively short — about 6 months. This is the key drawback of such solutions. Charcoal filters are used by not so many manufacturers of climate control equipment. Most prefer combined solutions or more efficient cleaning systems. You can find models with a carbon filter in the Toshiba and Midea line.

Catechin filter

Cleaning systems of this type can cope not only with the smell of pets, as coal counterparts do, but also with the smell of tobacco smoke, sweat, and other harsh odorous compounds. This feature appears due to the inclusion of a special substance in the filter — catechin. It is found in green tea extract and is known for its antiseptic properties. The catechin filter effectively fights odors of different intensity, and also has an antibacterial effect, which favorably distinguishes it from the background of analogues.

If we talk about the disadvantages of such cleaning systems, they are similar to those inherent in HEPA, as well as carbon filters. Catechin cassettes do not last long and require regular replacement every 4-6 months. If you want to buy an air conditioner with this air purification system, take a look at the lineup of brands such as Toshiba and Dantex.

Photocatalytic filter

This solution is effective in combating vapors of hydrogen sulfide, formaldehyde, ammonia. The photocatalytic filter can eliminate up to 90% of these substances, and it also copes well with unpleasant odors. Therefore, if you plan to install an air conditioner in a room where it is often very smoky, a model with this cleaning system is well suited, especially since the filter can restore its performance properties under the influence of sunlight. Due to this, the service life reaches 3-5 years.

The most popular type of photocatalytic filters are ultraviolet disinfectants. Such air purification systems are recognized as one of the most efficient, but require additional power, and therefore increase energy consumption. UV filters do not leave a single chance for bacteria and viruses floating in the air, as they are a full-fledged ultraviolet lamp that disinfects everything around. You can meet a similar technical solution in Electrolux, General Climat, Haier and Midea air conditioners.

Antioxidant filter

In terms of its performance characteristics, this element is similar to a photocatalytic counterpart. It has a long service life and effectively fights even sharp and intense odors. The antioxidant filter contains in its composition a special substance that restores free radicals, turning them into chemically inactive compounds. The principle of operation of this air purification system is based on this feature. Antioxidant filters are a rarity in the climate technology market. Air conditioners with their inclusion are produced mainly by Mitsubishi Electric.

Silver ion filter

The system is in many ways similar to carbon, catechin and HEPA filters. The difference is only in the active substance used. Silver ions, unlike coal or catechin, can disinfect the air, destroying up to 99% of bacteria in it, and also inhibit the reproduction of mold fungi. This system will be useful in rooms with high humidity.

The disadvantage of the silver ion filter is its short life. Once every six months, this element will have to be changed. Air conditioners with a filter containing silver ions are in the lines of manufacturers such as Ballu, Dantex and even Lessar.

Plasma ionizer

This system is a small container where low-temperature plasma is generated under high voltage. It changes the charge of particles from positive to negative. This ability helps to purify the air from spores, bacteria and viruses carried through it. They simply settle on the plates of the ionizer without getting inside the room.

The main advantage of such a cleaning system lies in its high efficiency and good performance. However, there are also disadvantages. Ionizers require additional energy costs, which negatively affects the energy efficiency of the air conditioner.

The plasma filter can be found in the climate technology of Hitachi, Midea, Mitsubishi Electric, Ballu, Dantex and LG.

Do you need additional air purification

You can not doubt the effectiveness of the filter only if we are talking about ultraviolet disinfection or a plasma ionizer. These systems process all incoming air, and therefore no bacteria or viruses can pass through this barrier. Although it should be noted that UV lamps are sometimes not installed along the entire length of the suction chamber. In this case, the degree of disinfection is reduced to 80-95%.

If we talk about carbon, catechin, photocatalytic and other filters, which are an additional overlay on the main mesh of coarse mechanical cleaning, then in most cases their use is nothing more than another marketing ploy. Efficiency, of course, depends on the area occupied by the air cleaning system. If it is less than half of the basic mesh filter, then the benefit of including an additional lining is practically reduced to zero. Channel systems can boast of maximum filtration efficiency. This is due to the peculiarities of the device, due to which the entire volume of air passes through the filter section.

When choosing a suitable air conditioner, be guided not only by the filtration system used in it, but also by the power, energy efficiency of the device, as well as the presence of additional useful options in it. A wide selection of modern models, among which you can choose the perfect option for yourself, is presented in the Smart Climate online store. There are both inexpensive, but very efficient air conditioners, as well as ultra-modern split-systems of premium series.


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